Founder Stories: Amit Raj On Building The Links Guy
In today’s Founder Story, we feature Amit Raj, Founder of The Links Guy!
Read on for lessons he has learned from launching and marketing his business.
1. Please introduce your business and share your role.
My name is Amit Raj, I’m the chief link strategist and Founder of The Links Guy, which is a specialist link-building company.
We work really with a range of industries, but particularly anyone in SaaS and tech, and also ecommerce, real estate, and finance.
Our mission is to build quality backlinks that can create connections, educate audiences, and grow businesses.
2. What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?
I have been in digital marketing since about 2013 but got into link building around 2015 to 2016. I was actually originally a pharmacist but had a love for digital marketing at the same time. I fell into link building as I did some work in SEO on the side, and got some hands-on experience at link building with a mentor.
I didn’t know anything about link building, but the more I did it, the deeper I fell into the rabbit hole! I got addicted to building connections with people via email, educating them with content, or building rapport with them, and having it actually lead to links or some other kind of business outcome.
The “aha” moment was when I realized the demand there was for link building and the gap in the market – for good quality link building.
So from 2016 onwards, I just had to get into the trenches. The only way to get better at link building was to keep doing great work for clients and helping them grow their businesses. At the same time, I grew a team, created SOPs, training curriculums, and did everything I could do to build an amazing team who I could hand the baton over to.
I still was involved in the pharmacy industry, up until around 2021 – at that point, I took the plunge and went full-time with TLG as things really started to pick up.
3. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
I had originally started with an older website, designed in WordPress – Amit Digital Marketing, but I didn’t spend too much time designing this. We mainly focused on contributing to SEO Facebook groups, sharing videos on YouTube, and also doing some SEO and link-building activities. By investing in content and driving organic traffic, we were able to drive a moderate amount of traffic at the initial stages of the company, and it brought in a small, but consistent source of leads.
This sustained me until it got to around 2021 and we underwent a rebrand to The Links Guy.
At that point, I worked with a branding agency in the UK, and we came up with the concept for the logo, brand color scheme and overall feel for the branding. Within the last few months, we refreshed the website again, and we are consolidating all of our socials and assets to align with the new and updated brand.
4. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
When it comes to marketing campaigns:
I still heavily advocate the importance of SEO, creating valuable content that educates your audience – and then marketing that content. Link building supports the overall SEO strategy, but of course, you should combine it with other channels.
I find LinkedIn a good way of getting in front of CMO-level people, and that’s something that has worked for us. YouTube is something I haven’t done in a while but my old videos still get views, and clients who find us organically, often say they went through my YouTube channel, so even aside from driving traffic, it’s really good for branding and conversion purposes.
When it comes to design:
Some background – we went through a few phases with ADM, and then the 2 brand schemes of the current TLG brand. My personal preference is to keep things as simple as possible, with a clean, sleek design, and with light colors. This is going to differ from brand to brand, and there is no way of doing things.
But, I think since I’m in link building, and it’s a fairly technical, heavy topic, clients do have to spend a lot of time reading our material and website, as they want to know exactly what our approach and process are. So, we need to keep them there as long as possible, so we can educate them with our content. A site that isn’t distracting, and provides a good user experience is crucial.
I’ve known GrowthScribe for a while, who advised us on branding and who helped us recently re-launch our new website. The key thing was to ensure the new website design retained our overall branding guidelines but had unique custom designs – while still being practical in terms of SEO functionality and conversions.
5. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
A bit of a cliche, but Apple is a really aspirational brand for me. The way they positioned their brand against all the other tech giants and made something so memorable and distinctive makes them a clear stand out.
Other than this, while these are controversial brands, I found it so interesting how Fyre Festival and JUUL, managed to grow their brands so quickly, and with such impact – off the back of very slick brand positioning, combined with very creative and cool marketing campaigns.
6. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
Majestic is great for backlink analysis and for data prospecting purposes. Useful in our process for understanding why a website is getting links, or getting insights on what potential link strategies we could use for our clients. A professional team and good customer support as well.
We find SalesQL quite useful as part of our contact-finding process, and better than a lot of the other email-hunting tools out there.
Great for streamlining the link-building outreach process and I’ve found it better than any other link-building outreach platforms on the market.
As we all know, we can’t isolate link building into its own box. We like to also advise clients on things that will help their overall SEO and marketing efforts. The team at Factors has a great product and we’ve helped clients use Factors.ai, to make the most of the traffic they are getting. Revenue attribution and content attribution are really important for any SEO agency, as they help the client, and also enable us at the agency side to justify ongoing spend on SEO activities.
7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
2 things inspire and motivate me to keep doing what I do.
One – My parents spent most of their life running a business and working. So the work ethic of my parents, the sacrifices they had to make, and how they helped so many people over the years is something that inspires me.
Two – My team inspires me every day as well. Seeing them learn, get great results for our clients, and watch them grow in confidence, and as professionals, over the duration of the time with us is awesome!
8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
Sometimes taking risks is a necessity, but take calculated risks.
This especially applies to entrepreneurs who are trying to build their own tools or automated processes to streamline their business. Rather than jump head-first into a potentially costly project (regardless of potential benefits), weigh up if you can do your due diligence by somehow reducing the costs with other vendors or finding an existing solution and making do with that.
Sticking with the theme of streaming/automating – I think there is a lesson to be learned in knowing what you can streamline and automate (within reason). It can free man-hours and allow you and your team to focus more on tasks that require much deeper, creative thinking.
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
Let go of ego – as an entrepreneur and leader, you have to know when to stick to your guns. But at the same time, you also have to be willing to listen to others and admit when others are right. It’s not a weakness to admit that sometimes, you don’t always have the right answer.
To make a team successful, it is ultimately going to come down to the relationship with management. There needs to be common, aligned goals with management. There needs to be open lines of communication, and a sense of mutual respect.